Eight prospects promoted to 2024 CFL Combine following Invitational in Waterloo

Photo courtesy: CFL

The Canadian Football League has invited eight prospects to the 2024 CFL Combine after strong showings at the Invitational Combine in Waterloo on Friday.

Defensive backs Yani Gouadfel, Dawson Marchant, and Jackson Sombach, defensive lineman Jason Janvier-Messier, offensive lineman Owen Mueller and Ethan Kalra, and receivers Nicholas Gendron and Kaine Stevenson were elevated to the main showcase in two weeks. All eight players were featured on 3DownNation‘s players-to-watch list entering the event.

Gouadfel hails from France but earned his National status by playing three seasons at Bishop’s University, earning an AUS all-star selection after a six-interception campaign in 2023. The six-foot-three, 198-pound safety was responsible for 61 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, 19 pass breakups, eight interceptions, and a fumble recovery in 20 games for the Gaiters, adding two touchdowns and also serving as the team’s primary punter. He pumped out 16 reps on the bench while running a 4.69 forty-yard dash, 7.20 three-cone, and 4.30 short shuttle, as well as recording a 32.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, one-inch broad jump.

Marchant played collegiately at Simon Fraser University and Northwestern Oklahoma State, recording 87 tackles,13 pass breakups, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick in 31 NCAA Division II games. The Surrey native was also an all-star for the CJFL national champion Langley Rams in 2021. At six-foot-one, 202 pounds, the versatile defensive back ran a 4.66 forty-yard dash, 7.06 three-cone, and 4.40 short shuttle, in addition to a 32-inch vertical, 10-foot, 3 5/8-inch broad, and 15 reps on the bench.

Sombach dominated the testing on Friday, finishing top five in every event except the bench press, where he still put up an impressive 15 reps. The University of Regina product ran the fastest forty at 4.58 seconds, topped the vertical jump at 36 inches, and paced the field with a 6.97 three-cone, while landing fifth with a 4.27 short shuttle and nine-foot, 11 7/8-inch broad jump. A Canada West all-star in 2022, the five-foot-eight, 196-pound halfback has notched 103 tackles, 15 pass breakups, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery in 27 games with the Rams.

Janvier-Messier was a second-team OUA all-star in 2022 but missed much of last season with injury. The six-foot-two, 230-pound defensive end from Beloiel, Que. has played just 14 career games for York University, collecting 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, four batted passes, and a fumble recovery. He clocked a 4.83 forty-yard dash, 7.27 three-cone, and 4.50 short shuttle on Friday, adding a 32.5-inch vertical, nine-foot, 7 1/2-inch broad, and 19 reps on the bench.

Mueller has started just eight games over four seasons at the University of Windsor but was a stalwart left tackle during the Lancers’ surprising 2023 season. The six-foot-five, 305-pound blocker was the top offensive lineman in testing, putting up 26 reps on the bench, leaping 26.5 inches in the vertical, and showing off his explosiveness with an eight-foot, eight-inch broad. The London, Ont. native also ran a 5.28 forty-yard dash, 8.15 three-cone, and 4.97 short-shuttle.

Kalra has started 29 games for the University of Waterloo over the past four seasons, seeing time at right guard and right tackle. The six-foot-two, 309-pound offensive lineman put up 23 reps on the bench and broad jumped eight feet, 2 1/4 inches, while running 5.54 in the forty. The pride of Acton, Ont. also posted a 23-inch vertical, 8.28 three-cone, and 4.96 short shuttle.

Gendron blazed the second-fastest forty-yard dash of the event, coming in at 4.59. The University of Ottawa receiver also clocked 7.14 in the three-cone and 4.13 in the short-shuttle, while benching 29 times, posting nine feet, 10 inches in the broad, and reaching 29 inches in the vertical. The product of Gatineau, Que. was a second-team OUA all-star in 2023 and caught 69 passes for 1,120 yards and five touchdowns in 22 games for the Gee-Gees.

Stevenson attended the University of Guelph, catching 48 passes for 547 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons while also rushing 101 times for 445 yards and another trio of scores. The Windsor product posted a 4.82 forty-yard dash, 7.62 three-cone, and 4.57 short shuttle, while leaping 34 inches in the vertical and nine feet, 7 1/8 inches in the broad. He also benched 15 reps. Prior to his university career, the five-foot-11, 207-pound athlete was an All-Canadian standout for the Westshore Rebels of the CJFL, amassing 1,586 all-purpose yards, scoring three majors, and adding nine tackles and three forced fumbles in 16 games.

The 2024 CFL Combine is set to take place in Winnipeg from March 19 to 24, with nearly 100 prospects expected to be in attendance. Players will conduct medical testing and measurements on day one, followed by traditional testing events on day two. Days three to five will include practice sessions featuring individual drills and one-on-ones with CFL coaches leading positional groups.

The 2024 CFL Draft will take place on Tuesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Edmonton Elks currently hold the first overall selection.